Ten miles out of Vegas is that city’s own kind of Stonehenge, an installation called Seven Magic Mountains by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. With a nod to the land artists of the 1970’s – including Michael Heizer of Levitated Mass – Seven Magic Mountains makes a long hot road-trip to Vegas a little bit brighter. The installation debuted in May 2016 and will be on view for two years so you have time to plan for an excursion (perhaps for cooler months!).
The boulders range from 40,000 – 56,000 pounds, and the installation itself sits on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Before heading to the site, kids can think about the amount of people involved with the permitting and moving and planning of this delightful large-scale sculpture. Learn more about the process by watching this video.
What does it all mean? Here is a statement from the artist: “Seven Magic Mountains elicits continuities and solidarities between human nature, artificial and natural, then and now.” Kids can interpret this for themselves, but also think about what “Public Art” is, in the first place. Rondinone had similar magic mountain-like creatures on display in show called Human Nature, on view in NYC at Rockefeller Plaza a few years ago, but they were left a stately gray, more appropriate to the city. Ask the kids why they think he used such playful colors in the desert location.
Here is a fully-developed STEAM lesson plan from the Nevada Museum of Art to help explain the principals at work. Good for a group, but fine for a project at home this summer.
Seven Magic Mountains, a two-year public art installation, is located approximately 10 miles south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Nevada. The installation site is a short distance from legendary Jean Dry Lake where Michael Heizer and Jean Tinquely created significant sculptures in the 1960s.
From Las Vegas: Follow I-15 S to Sloan Rd (exit 25). Turn left (east) to Las Vegas Boulevard. Drive approximately 7 miles south on Las Vegas Blvd. and the artwork will appear on your left (east).
From Los Angeles: Drive north on I-15 to Jean, NV (exit 12). Turn right (east) on NV-161 toward Las Vegas Blvd. Drive approximately 5 miles north on Las Vegas Blvd. and the artwork will appear on your right (east).
Please park in the onsite parking lot. Street parking is discouraged. No public transportation is available to the installation site. BRING WATER and No Camping!